Posts Tagged ‘Content-control software’

Since I deleted all my old youtube videos I posted here a year ago, to avoid any possibility that  idiots I know finding out about them and getting me in trouble, I have uploaded 3 new “video game violence BS” videos on my alternate youtube channel, which is here. 2  nights ago I filmed the first one, as said by my last short post on the subject, but I needed to do some more. The problem is that I didn’t think I could get away with part 2 yesterday, so I did a 17 minute long video last night, and uploaded it to youtube only to find out that It wouldn’t be accepted due to my stupid 15 minute limit that can only be removed by more views (unlikely), or a mobile phone number, when I don’t even have a mobile phone. So I recorded 2 video’s the instant I got up today to remedy this. The first came out like crap (the redo of the video I couldn’t do yesterday morning, not the one that uploaded to youtube but got rejected), so I ended up having to redo the first video I did today later on this afternoon with my parents around, a huge issue. I got away with it and it’s available here.

That video is about BS the media spread after school shootings to implicate violent games as the sole reason the school shootings happened. I also did a second video on mandatory and non-mandatory web filtering, plus my thoughts on the paranoia surrounding violent games being marketed to kids, and violent game ads in public places being taken down. You can watch this second video here:

 

There are people out there who praise web filtering, and say how It’s the greatest thing to protect children online. There are others who say “these non-child friendly sites, why do we even allow them?” and mandate mandatory filtering for all, such as Australia and it’s mandatory filtering program called the “great Aussie firewall” which was stopped a few years ago due to complaints that it would block video game sites…

You read it right… Gaming sites..  Censorship is never right, even if kids are the reason for it. Already many states have mandatory regulation in public libraries to block sites found “harmful  to minors”, as vague as that seems. The statues are vague and have no specific content that must be blocked, so they basically allow the libraries to chose what sites are harmful to minors to block them.  This extends into schools, including colleges as well in many cases. I tried 2 filters, and both gave me complete control over what sites to block…

Talk about scary ways they could be abused to block out something the person running the school/library doesn’t like.  So what’s the whole thing about gaming sites being harmful to minors, anyway?

 

One of the internet filters I tried is a free one called OpenDNS. I also looked at another site called “free internet”, which also blocks gaming sites by default…  OpenDNS is not just web filtering, it is a free DNS service to reroute traffic from dangerous (virus) sites that happens to offer a free internet filtering program. I tried it out…. And was shocked how much dubious, not so harmful to minors type stuff was included with full filtering. The following categories of stuff were filtered:

 

Gaming sites

Sexuality oriented sites

Porn sites

File sharing sites

Web mail

Forums (!)

Gambling

and some others I can’t remember now..

 

Most of these could be considered stuff you don’t want kids to see, but gaming sites, forums, webmail, why are they even on the list? So I got curious. I decided to sign up with OpenDNS’s free filtering service to test 50 or so sites to see what ones are blocked, assuming I was browsing the internet where OpenDNS was forced down my throat due to mandatory filtering laws (hypothetical ones).  The results were, well stupid…  Number 1, a ton of gaming sites got blocked, including doomworld, planetquake,planethalflife, rockstar.com, planetduke, blood.com, and the site for my favorite video game, Deus Ex.   But even worse the following gaming sites which report on gaming news were also blocked, Rock Paper shotgun, Gamepolitics.com, g4tv.com, kotaku.com. Then you get the downright retarded entries which were blocked for no good reason whatsoever: Fpscreator.com, TesNexus.com, 3dgamers archive, filefront,com, bioware.com (!),  planetdescent.com (!) , and the site of a free descent 2 source port, d2x-xl.   But almost ALL sites for video games that are quite controversial were allowed by this filter, including duke4.net, fear3.co.uk, callofduty.com, seriouszone.com, and others, yet Planetdescent and d2x-xl’s sites get blocked? Descent is pretty much the coolest and least violent series of FPS games, you fly around destroying robots, yet the big site for duke nukem 3d, which approaches x-rated terms in violence, is allowed?  Then sites like  rock paper shotgun, and kotaku get blocked for being gaming news sites, what good reason is there for that? Then comes the ones that “really” piss me off, Bioware.com, TesNexus.com, and Gamepolitics.com. Gamepolitics is a game related politics site, not a violent games site, bioware makes RPG games that are mildly violent with one or 2 with same sex relationships that got ripped on Fox News (Mass Effect), besides that their games are less about gore and more about strategy, yet their entire site gets blocked for 1 controversial game? (that shouldn’t be, none  the less!). Then you get tesnexus.com, a modding site for a tame yet really good RPG games in the elder scrolls series. Why block that?  None of those games are really that violent at all. Fallout3Nexus, for Fallout 3 wasn’t blocked and it’s the most violent rpg ever made? Add in 2 file hosting sites for games, Filefront.com, and gamers.org, both blocked. Why? Are they afraid that some kid will download some mods for a game he probably doesn’t own… Why filter out files. You need the game and a PC to even play them. Librarians would probably catch the kid trying to burn a cd with  the game demo or attempting to play it in the library. For mods, you need the damn game the mod is for to play it, and a demo won’t do. Patches, same thing. Why block file sites whatsoever. There is no reason why, unless the people thought game file hosting would lead to school shootings, or something utterly stupid like  that. It makes no sense whatsoever to block this way, PERIOD.

 

Other types of sites blocked are web mail sites like gmail and yahoo mail, which have absolutely no reason to block. I had yahoo mail since I was 20 for gods sake. Why filter that out? You then get all the file hosting sites online like 4shared, mediafire, rapidshare, dropbox, etc. All of these have a reputation for hosting pirate files, and they do. But they also host plenty of completely legal files, including mods for video games. There have been plenty of links to video game files on sites like this, posted on forums. Sometimes the only way to be able to host a file is to use a service like this, and simply blanketing them as “pirate” sites is stupid, but unfortunately, it makes no sense to block the host, when you could block the actual warez sites with the links to the 200 files you need to download the pirated stuff, because without that you will never find all 200 files with a simple internet search due to the fact that each link to one of these sites has a completely different account character list and file name, and the character list is a random string of characters, 30 long, that makes it almost impossible to find one file after you found the previous file through a web search.

 

Then you get the complete ban on social networking, which is well… Stupid.  Almost every single big social networking site, such as myspace, youtube, facebook, etc, are all blocked and made it look like someone was trying to redirect me to a fraudulent site,  to boot. This will  scare people who try to go to these sites to make it look like their infected with redirection malware which normally does this kind of  thing, with an Error box in chrome  that fooled even me, thinking that some malware had infected my PC when I tried to visit youtube, until I read it closer. I simply cannot understand the reasoning behind the panic on social networking. Sure, a kid could become obssessed with them, and they give out personal info, but as long as you know what you are doing, you’re fine.  But the  youtube thing pisses me off. Youtube’s primary focus is video streaming, NOT social networking, unlike myspace and facebook. By demanding these things get blocked, the mandatory filtering groups will be cutting off all lets plays, all walkthroughs, and tons of other stuff that simply are not even close to harmful to minors.  Now, none of this was meant as an attack on OpenDNS, I just think if they mandate filtering in the US, and use something similar to OpenDNS, in terms of site types to block, they will end up blocking TONS of sites that aren’t even remotely harmful to minors, and let a lot in too. Filtering is not the answer, really.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has become apparent over the last few years that internet filtering which was originally decided to block porn and other “harmful to children” materials, has warped into a violent game site censorship machine…. Australia in 2009 decided that their Mandatory internet filter (the great aussie firewall) would block any site allowing people to download any kind of video game, and any site selling any games that are ma15+ or above (equivalent to the ESRB M rating in the US). These sites selling “violent” games include Amazon.com, ebay.com, etc. This firewall I’m talking about is completely mandatory in Australia. Every internet connection has this. Talk about stomping on Australians freedoms to stop kids from playing “violent” games!

“Far from being the ultimate weapon against child abuse, it now will officially censor content deemed too controversial for a 15-year-old. In a free country like ours, do we really need the government to step in and save us from racy web games?”

But if you think Australia is the only one doing this, you’re in for a surprise:

This filter for instance, called “clean internet” which requires a fee, blocks gaming sites. I know lots of people pay for this crap to block “offensive” content in their libraries, homes,etc. So what is so offensive about a  website for a violent game where you kill bugs as a soldier, aka “Resistance : Fall of Man”,”Half-life 2″, “Halo”,etc. Because most of the “Violent” games/”killer” games as more like this than GTA…

I tried out one of these filters, a free one. It was scary what control It gave me block sites by name. I was able to chose exactly what sites to block by URL and by keyword… Now Imagine that I was a library operator in one of the states that force the net to be filtered at these ‘kid havens’. And I have right wing religious conservative beliefs where violent games are the cause of school shootings and gamers are worse than child molesters.  I could choose what exactly I wanted to be censored, easily. Gaming sites, out the window! Sites debunking lies about violent games, out the window! Anything Liberal : Out the Window! Social networks : out the window! Gay rights groups : Out the window!  Pagan sites : out the window! Anything science related : out the window! Email services : out the window! Anything that offends me : out the window! That includes any sites where “gamer druggies” post their plans to “shoot up schools”.

Not literally, but what if that was my alter ego’s  bias to block gaming sites… The belief as a library operator that violent game fans are all psychotic and delusional, sociopathic freaks! So basically these filters allow the operator to control what thing is censored under a law that says that libraries must filter the internet to block harmful material. How fair is it when right wing morons get to chose what they think is harmful?

I looked at this page which goes into detail on state laws requiring filtering in public places. Not all states require it in libraries. But the ones that do clearly are more conservative states : Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Florida. In many of these states ( not all mind you), the libraries are Mandated by the state Government to block all material deemed “harmful to minors”. Well video gaming sites could be seen that way by conservative library operators who think that gaming leads to school shooting.. To me this is censorship, it should not be tolerated. When the government mandates a vague law saying public internet access places must block ‘harmful to minors’ material and let the people running the library to chose what they want to block, it is a violation of the 1st amendment.

Now, someone will bound to think that “we must protect the children”. But adults go to libraries too. Lets say a gamer in one of these states can’t afford the internet, so must go to the library to get access. But he goes there only to find out that the internet access gets blocked from any site mentioning violent games, because the library choses that keyword (“violent games”) as something to block. Is that not stepping on freedom?

Caricature on "The great epidemic of porn...

Image via Wikipedia

Every time I hear that phrase I want to puke… It has been used to justify 100’s of “moral” legislation, censorship laws, invasion of privacy, and generic bills that have no purpose but to “protect the children”, at the expense of the rights of adult Americans/people/whatever. I could name every single thing that has been done to “protect kids” that cuts away at adults rights, but I would fill 500 pages… The big ones are…

A) Video Game/Heavy Metal/comic book/’whatever’ Censorship –  One of the major things that always gets done that attacks the rights of adults in the name of “saving” the kids is censoring violent games. For years violent games have been the scapegoat of the media in the US and abroad.  School shootings always get pinned on violent games, even though there is sufficient evidence that child psychosis had infinitely more to do with school shootings than violent games. Many times after school shootings, the media makes up utter lies and outright hoaxes to make it look like violent games are actually the sole, or a major influence of violent school shooters, such as the “doom will become reality” hoax that was placed on Eric Harris’s AOL site after the school shooting. The debate over video game violence is another thing, it has gotten so bad that proponents of video game censorship who spew ridiculous theories that violent games desensitize, or are being used by the military to erode the inhibition to kill, have resorted to ridiculous anti-gamer rhetoric and death threats in the name of “protecting the kiddies”. My life has been personally threatened by these morons. more on that in the next article.

B) Attacks on Sexuality – Mostly indecent exposure charges, or similar, that are clearly based on irrational panics over child molestation, that are blown out of water by right wing conservative nutcase ‘journalists’. Public masturbation is arrested because it’s ‘rude’. It’s one thing if a child predator is looking a minors while doing the deed, but simply being naked in your own home, or playing with yourself there or outside when people could or do see you can lead to you being brandished a “child molester” via a sexual offender’s registry entry on you, and thanks to moral panics and right wing nutcase paranoia ‘journalism’, everyone thinks that 100% of sex offenders are all rapists or paedophiles.  Many are people who simply urinated in public.. I’m serious.

I recently read a story where a whole town went nuts when Some guy took a completely nude statue made by Michelangelo (with male genitals and all), and put it on his front lawn. The Panic was insane, complaints about ‘sexual content’ and the ‘effect on children of the ‘poneography’ were debated. WHAT PORNOGRAPHY? THE STATUE HAD A DICK. IT WASN’T FUCKING ANOTHER STATUE! That’s the problem, people see nudity, or affection, or kissing and think… PORN! ITS FUCKING NUTS. Don’t get me started on complaints of pornographic material where no sex is seen. Mild sexual content is labeled “Graphic Sexual content”. Hardcore is non-existent outside of real porn so they have no label  for that. Nudity is sexual content.. WTF!  Kissing = PORN! to these people… It’s insane.

C) Internet Filtering Nonsense – The whole country demands that filters be put on every possible place that has  A) Internet access and B) Actual or Possible presence of young or any-age children. Many of the times the filters block out legit sites or censor things that the moral majority thinks are bad for kids, (violent video games sites and heavy metal sites were blocked by the Great Aussie Firewall – Australia’s MANDATORY internet filtering required at any internet access point, private or public.)  Other things that get censored are sites relating to Health issues and other ‘Adult’ things that the moral majority goes into moral panics over… All in the name of protecting kids from the ‘filth’ online…  Now the real problem is that the administrator of these filters can decide what sites or keywords to block, making it so if someone who runs a library and has extremist christian views that demand that site x and it’s ilk shouldn’t be allowed, he/or/she can decide to the whole world who enters his/or/her library what they can’t view! I tested some of these filters and the control they give the admin to choose what to block, what specific sites, etc, is scary. Imagine a library where you can’t view a certain popular gaming site or a metal site or any other thing controversial to the admin due to paranoia over it. It isn’t your imagination. It’s possible and could happen now due to the control these filters give to choose sites the admin simply doesn’t like or is offended by.  Now comes the true issue to me. Mandatory filtering is something these people will try to push on the public eventually. Like in Australia. Over there Metal and Video Game sites are blocked by EVERY filter on EVERY computer that has internet access. It’s The law. The very corrupt and brutally biased law, mind you. Other countries use filters to block Anti-country Propaganda, but filtering Metal sites is based on (IMHO) paranoia over satanism and a global satanic cult that the religious right keeps on bringing up that  all of the metal community, fans, and all bands are part of that is taking part in secret child molestation, and ‘Baby eating’. Munchy!

Baby Eating? Seriously. During the panic over satanic cults in El Paso Texas in the 80’s… This was one of the allegations against cultists who turned out to be metalheads… WTF! The reason for the filtering of video sites has to do with the long standing anti-video game issues in that country which basically boil down to Australia’s strict censorship system that outright bans any games that are too graphic for the prudish turds over there…. Add the lies made up by certain experts claiming violent games are used in the military to break down the inhibition to kill, and can be used to train for a real firefight and you have a panic. That is what is happening, in the US, Germany, and elsewhere.

All of these because these people are so paranoid over the protection of kids… So paranoid that the rights of adults have to be smothered in the process. It’s pathetic.